Your Guide to Buying an Affordable Suit

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Your Guide to Buying an Affordable Suit

A suit is an integral part of a man's wardrobe. Any number of occasions, both professional and personal demand a suit; interviews and inspections, weddings and funerals, all call for the bit of style and professionalism that a suit engenders to its wearer. Most men's suits are purchased as a set of trousers and a matching jacket in the same style, and usually of the same fabric. Because of the varied situations which require a suit, entire brick-and-mortar stores are dedicated to the retail sale of suits and their accessories, as well as sections of large department stores. For your convenience, suits can also be purchased from the online auction site eBay. While every man should own a suit, the cost of suits, especially tailored and customised, can be prohibitive and the staggering number of variations, options, and accessories can make the process of choosing a suit frightful, or even intimidating. When selecting a suit, you should be familiar with the cuts and patterns available in suits, you should know how suits are fitted, and from which fabrics suits are sewn.

Suit Style and Cut

Suits are the product of several hundred years of men's fashion, and accordingly, they have been influenced and shaped by several different areas, individuals, and interests. When considering the suit that is right for you, among your first concerns should be the style of suit you are purchasing. The style of the suit is the first image others see, and sets the tone for most interactions while wearing the suit. There are three typical parts you should consider when purchasing a suit based on its pattern: the breast of the suit, the lapels, and the trousers. There are a number of specific differences in the way manufacturers construct their suits. In some cases, this is limited to the type of stitching used or the specific lining of the fabric in the jacket. In most cases, however, you can bypass these as selection criteria, as they have a minimal effect on your overall appearance and can contribute to the cost of the overall garment. When you purchase a three-piece suit, which includes a waistcoat, you should also consider the style of the waistcoat as well.

Suit Breast

The breast of a suit is usually noted as either single-breasted or double-breasted. In practical terms, this refers to the amount of fabric you have overlapping the front of the jacket. A single breasted jacket conveys a slightly more casual tone than a double breasted jacket, and can be worn open, or with only a single button fixed. Single-breasted jackets allow you to be professional, without being uptight. The double-breasted jacket is more formal, and is typically worn with both buttons, or more, fixed, if the jacket has more than two columns. A double-breasted jacket can be worn for the most formal of occasions, and allows you to put your best foot forward.

Suit Lapels

The lapels of a suit are the portions that cross over the chest, and are one of the most prominently displayed portions of a suit. Today, there are predominantly two types of lapels: the peaked lapel and the notched lapel. In antiquity, the two lapels represented differences in tailor skill, but today, you can choose the style of lapel that most appeals to you. Neither the peaked lapel, nor the notched lapel are too ostentatious or unassuming. There is a third type of lapel, the shawl, although in most cases you should forgo consideration of the shawl lapel, because of its association with the most formal of occasions.

Suit Trousers

As with all trousers, whether purchased with a suit jacket or independently, they require a bit of consideration all their own. Pleated or not, static waistband or elastic rubber, fixtures for suspenders or belt loops; the list of options available for trousers is surprisingly vast, but most can be boiled down to personal choice. There are still a few options which require a bit of forethought.

Suit Waistcoat

Not all suits include a waistcoat, however, if the style suits you, there are three-piece suits that come with a waistcoat, in addition to the jacket and trousers. Waistcoats are usually distinguished by the presence, or lack, of a pocket for triangle cloths, watches, or other accessories.

Suit Fitting

Fitting is of paramount importance when selecting a suit . If the suit hangs too loosely, it conveys poor planning, or appears inappropriately casual, even if the situation is not intrinsically formal. A suit that is fitted too tightly at best creates an image of uptightness, and at worse makes an attempt at appearing stylish come across as comical or absurd. One of the most important things you can do to help yourself through the process of buying a suit is to get your measurements taken by tailor. Knowing your sleeve length, chest size, inseam, waist, and shoulder measurements arm you with the tools you need to effectively buy a suit. Once you have your measurements, you can consult each suit manufacturer's individual sizing chart, and purchase the jacket and trousers which fit most appropriately.

Fitting the Suit Jacket

A suit jacket is comprised of a few different primary measurements. The three most important measurements being the shoulder, the sleeve length, and the chest. The shoulder is measured shoulder to shoulder, and gives the breadth of the jacket. The sleeve measurement comes from the underarm to the wrist, and provides the length of the jacket sleeves up to the back of the wrist. One very important thing to keep in mind when measuring your sleeve length is that the suit jacket's sleeve should not completely cover your wrist. Instead, the jacket's sleeve should stop just behind the wrist, allowing the shirt you wear under it to show through. Finally, the circumference of the chest gives you the overall size of the jacket.

Fitting the Suit Trousers

For the purposes of sizing, there is little surprise in the trousers; waist size, inseam, and outseam. For most purposes, you can follow your normal sizing guidelines for trousers to determine the width of your waist and the length of your pant leg, shoring up the difference in your actual measurements and the nearest trouser sizes with a belt , or a decently thick-soled shoe.

Fitting the Suit Waistcoat

In most cases, sizing the jacket sizes the waistcoat appropriately, if one is included with the suit. However, be sure to double check the waistcoat size, where applicable, to avoid any unfortunate purchases.


The fabric of a suit is one of the most important aspects of selecting a suit. For affordability, durability, and economy, wool is one of the most common and efficacious materials in which to own a suit. Even with the prevalence of wool, for care, the suit should be dry-cleaned only and left to hang in a quasi-sealed plastic covering with some moth balls or other non-offensive pest repellant.

There are several other fabrics: tweed, which is usually wool that is woven differently; silk, and linen . These fabrics have their advantages and disadvantages just like wool. However, most of these fabrics carry similar costs and care guidelines, with the notable exception of silk, which can be costly.

Buying an Affordable Suit on eBay

When purchasing the suit for which you are looking, there are a number of considerations to make in addition to the factors listed above. If you prefer a specific fabric, or a specific manufacturer of suit, you can specify that as part of your initial search. Because of the inherent cost and personal nature of suits, many are sold secondhand, and can be viable both fashionably and functionally well into their second and third owners. It may be more cost effective to purchase a used suit than a new one. On eBay, you can default your search for mens ' suits and adjust the condition as appropriate. In the case of new suits, you generally do not need to pay much more attention to the condition of the item listed; however, in the case of used items, pay close mind to the condition, and do not hesitate to ask questions of the seller if you suspect any undue wear or tear to the suit. As with any eBay purchase, be sure to review the seller's rating, as well as their terms for shipping and post.


In summary, every man should own a suit. If you do not already own a suit, adding one to your wardrobe gives you an option unlike anything else that can display more than just class and professionalism, it can show a willingness to care for one's appearance. There are a great deal of factors to consider when you purchase a suit, such as the cuts, styles, and patterns available. Also when purchasing a suit, make sure that you select the most appropriate choice for your occasion or tastes; know how suits are sized, or fitted, to ensure the suit you select represents you as best as it can; and finally, you must be aware of the variety of fabrics available in suits, and their specific advantages and disadvantages. Armed with these facts, and a healthy amount of research into the colours and patterns present in suits, your next suit purchase can be simpler, easier, and ultimately, less costly.

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